Something went wrong. Try again later

    Can't Kill Innocents

    Concept »

    Games in which the player is incapable - not just discouraged from - harming innocents. Sorry, no matter how bad you want to, you just can't pull that trigger.

    Short summary describing this concept.

    Can't Kill Innocents last edited by MelodicVirus on 10/02/22 01:10PM View full history


    In games that stress the "goodness" of the player character – regardless of the amount of evil henchmen that can be murdered – the developers may insist that non-hostile NPCs cannot be seriously harmed by the player. Sometimes this is purposeful and appropriate to the character, such as in Superman Returns, but often it is simply a choice to avoid the controversy of giving the player –especially children– such an option. In combative games, non-lethal takedowns or other methods are often employed against aggressive "good guys" such as police.

    Depending on the mechanics of the game, this can manifest in different ways:

    • Being specifically unable to target or fire upon NPCs (eg. a "don't shoot" reticule that actually disables shooting, or being unable to draw a weapon near innocents).
    • Invincible NPCs that ignore/receive damage but do not die.
    • Imposing a penalty when even attempting to harm a NPC.
    • Ending or restarting the game if an innocent is shot or killed by the player (no exceptions).
    • NPCs that jump out of the way of oncoming (player controlled) vehicles, often going comically large distances whilst jumping.

    Notable examples

    BioShock attempted to justify the player's inability to kill the Little Sisters by claiming that they had near-instantaneous health regeneration, which still doesn't explain why they do not react at all when shot.

    In Scarface: The World Is Yours, Tony Montana retains the moral code he displayed in the original film. If players attempt to shoot a targeted civilian, Tony will mention his personal rule and will not fire his weapon. (However, players can still murder civilians while playing as other characters.)


    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.